Gospel Peak

Elevation: 8,345 ft
Prominence: 365

Climbing and access information for this peak is found on page 69. Contributor Mike Hays has provided us a more detailed and updated access and route information report, which is set out below.


Gospel Peak Update by Mike Hays

Gospel Peak is one of the highest points along the Salmon/Clearwater divide. Along with Pyramid Peak, Gospel Peak anchors the western portion of the Gospel Hump Wilderness of the Nez Perce National Forest. This primitive area is approximately 206,000 acres and forms part of a 4.3 million-acre wilderness block with the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. Subalpine glacial lakes abound in this area and many of them support great trout fishing. The area is an easy day trip from Grangeville and provides excellent backcountry hiking and camping. A climb of Gospel Peak can be combined with nearby Pyramid Peak for an easy double-peak day.

You can see three ranges and four states, counting Idaho, from Gospel Peak’s summit, including the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon, Bitterroots of Montana, and the Blue Mountains and prairies of southeast Washington. On a clear day, you can see deep into the Payette Mountains to the south and the mountains of the St. Joe River basin to the north.

Gospel Peak from Pyramid. Mike Hays Photo

Gospel Peak from Pyramid. Mike Hays Photo


Access

From Highway 95, turn east into Grangeville and continue a long mile on Main Street (Highway 13) to the east edge of town. The town ends abruptly at the old Forest Service office on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 13 and the Mt. Idaho Grade road. The Forest Service office is a good place to have a break or obtain maps. From this intersection, travel south (right from downtown) on the Mt. Idaho Grade road. After 7/10th of a mile, keep to the right (straight) where the main road curves left at the drive-in theater. The road now becomes Grangeville-Salmon Road. After about 2 miles, the road begins to climb the mountains south of town after crossing the National Forest boundary. The road becomes Road 221 at Fish Creek Campground. Continue on the paved road to the well-marked Road 444 and turn left onto the gravel road. This turn is just before mile marker 30 and is approximately 31 miles south of Grangeville.

Go approximately 8 miles on Road 444 to the Upper Gospel Lake pull-out. Park here or continue up the road for approximately 1/8th mile where there is a pronounced curve to the right and room for 2 or 3 cars to park. You can also drive as far as the ridge, mentioned below, park, and begin your climb on the ridge.

Route

From the parking areas, hike on gentle terrain through an open subalpine forest until you reach the ridge. Once at the ridge, turn south for an easy 0.5-mile walk to the peak. The walk to the summit is gentle from the north, west, and south. However, around the east side of the peak, there are multiple chutes and cliffs where you can find class 3 and 4 rocks on which to play.

The granite and quartz peak is generally an easy walk up, but challenging climbs are found in other areas of the mountain. The cliffs north of the peak that form the source of Burnt Creek also contain technical rocks. Road 444 makes this high country very easily accessible, but those wanting the whole deal can hike up Slate Creek on Trail 313, which leaves the Road 444 approximately 2 miles east of junction 221. Once on this trail, continue south for approximately 3 miles to the base of the peak. Leave the path and head straight up the main ridge west of the peak. The climb from the bottom of Slate Creek to the summit is roughly 3,000 vertical feet.

The east ridge of Gospel Peak. Mike Hays Photo

The east ridge of Gospel Peak. Mike Hays Photo

The summit. Mike Hays Photo

The summit. Mike Hays Photo

USGS Topo: Hanover Mountain

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Southern Clearwater Peaks

Longitude: -115.94019   Latitude: 45.62039

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